£14m schools plan puts constructor in a class of its own

Wolverhampton Vocational Training Centre

Morgan Sindall has been appointed to design and build two new schools in Wolverhampton in contracts worth £14m.

The contracts, for the site of the former Tarmac headquarters on Millfields Road, have been awarded by the Education Funding Agency (EFA) through the Constructing West Midlands Framework (CWMF).

The first contract is for the £3m new home of the Wolverhampton Vocational Training Centre. Established in 2015, and governed by The Central Learning Partnership Trust, it is the only free school in the country which offers vocational training to 16 to 18-year-old students who have Special Educational Needs, or an Education, Health and Care Plan.

The school has been operating from a temporary location on nearby Upper Villiers Street, but will relocate to the new purpose-built 150,000 sq ft facility when construction work completes at the end of this year.

Plans will see an existing garage on the site overhauled, with the old roof and internal partitions stripped out and replaced by a portal steel frame and cladded panels.

The one-storey facility will feature 12 classrooms with capacity for 80 pupils, and designed with specific trades in mind.

Vocational training courses to be delivered include: construction, carpentry, catering, painting and decorating, dog grooming, hair styling and horticulture. There will also be a fully functioning MOT bay to allow motor vehicle maintenance to be taught.

The second contract sees the development of an £11m campus for the British Sikh School; a free secondary school governed by the Khalsa Academies Trust. The academy opened in 2015 and has been operating from a temporary base at Parkfield High School, on Wolverhampton Road East.

Plans for the new school will see the complete refurbishment of an existing four-storey building on the site, to create a modern 53,000 sq ft learning environment with capacity to eventually accommodate 840 pupils.

The school, which will also feature a separate 3,200 sq ft sports hall, is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

Nick Singh Kandola, chairman of Khalsa Academies Trust, said: “The brand new facilities will provide a modern hi-tech environment and educational facilities to support the provision of excellent teaching and learning for our pupils and staff. In addition, the very good sports facilities and auditorium will support the provision of high quality enrichment activities.”

Morgan Sindall framework manager, Dave Kelly, added: “Over the past six years Morgan Sindall has completed 30 projects with a value of around £170m through our work on the CWM framework, and within that, 22 have been schools.”